Stuttgart cancelled out Claudio Pizarro's first goal of the season to come from behind and beat Cologne 3-2, effectively extinguishing any lingering relegation fears thanks to two goals from Mario Gomez and three assists from Erik Thommy.

Cologne 2-3 Stuttgart

Goals: 1-0 Pizarro (7'), 1-1 Gomez (45'), 1-2 Gomez (45+2'), 1-3 Beck (57'), 2-3 Jojic (86')

Buoyed by a recent revival, Cologne took the game to their guests and were rewarded with their quickest goal of the season. Claudio Pizarro, making only his second start of the season, struck his 192nd Bundesliga goal to put his name down in the record books and give the Billy Goats belief.  The hosts continued to dominate and thought they had doubled their lead through Yuya Osako, but his goal was ruled out by Video Assist. Rather than taking a two-goal lead into the interval, the game was turned on its head in the final few minutes of the half by Mario Gomez. First, the German striker powered in an equaliser before putting Stuttgart in front with a strike which squirmed through Timo Horn's grasp.

The hill Cologne had to climb became a mountain when Andreas Beck steered in a third for Stuttgart in the 57th minute. The lively Vincent Koziello nearly provided some rope and a harness for the climb when he brought a remarkable save out of Ron-Robert Zieler and, to their credit, Cologne refused to raise the white flag. Holger Badstuber retreated into a five-man Stuttgart defence and they held firm until a Milos Jojic direct free-kick five minutes from time roused the hosts for one final assault on a point. They could not find an equaliser though, and defeat leaves Cologne facing a range of mountains to scale to save their status in the Bundesliga, as the Swabians moved closer to the European qualifying berths than they are to the drop zone.

Match stats

  • Cologne have not beaten VfB in ten home games – their last win at the RheinEnergieStadion came in October 2000.
  • New Stuttgart coach Korkut has never lost to Cologne in the top flight (W2 D2).
  • Claudio Pizarro became the fourth-oldest Bundesliga goalscorer with his 192nd strike.
  • Pizarro's goal was Cologne's quickest strike of the season, coming in the seventh minute.
  • Mario Gomez has scored five of the nine goals Stuttgart have scored under Korkut.
  • Stuttgart scored three goals away from home for the first time this season.

Line-ups

Cologne: T. Horn – Sörensen (69' Cordoba), Mere, Heintz - Risse, Höger, Osako, Koziello (83' Jojic), Hector (c) – Pizarro (60' Bittencourt), Terodde
Unused subs: Kessler, Maroh, Özcan, Lehmann
Absentees: J. Horn (cold), Queiros (neck), Clemens (thigh)
Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck

Stuttgart: Zieler – Beck, Baumgartl, Pavard, Insua – Badstuber, Ascacibar (66' Aogo), Gentner (c) – Thommy (77' Akolo), Gomez, Ginczek (90+1' Kaminski)
Unused subs: Grahl, Donis, Mangala, Özcan
Absentees: Mane (thigh), Zimmermann (knee ligaments)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut

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